The AMC Eagle is still not as cool as we’d hoped
In the 1980s, American Motors built some of the hottest 4x4s family haulers on the market. The AMC Eagle is not one of them. While it has the same 258-cubic-inch inline-six that was used as the base engine in the 1986 Grand Wagoneer, and impressive wood paneling and cushy brown leather interior were just an option check away, the AMC Eagle hasn’t yet reached the collectible status of the classic Brooks Stevens SUV. Shame.
Nevertheless, since last year when the Hagerty Drivers Club magazine staff gathered three unlikely off-roaders together for a romp in the desert, I’ve seen several nicely preserved examples hit the market. (It’s unlikely this is a cause-and-effect scenario, more like the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon calling my attention back to these unusual precursors to the modern crossover.) I began to wonder if there were more well-preserved Eagles out there than people might expect. Almost every other wagon from that era got tossed aside in the 33 years after AMC got swallowed up by Chrysler. Yet I swear I’ve spotted quite a few decent examples of the 4×4 wagon for sale over the past year.
An online search for AMC Eagles for sale landed me at the website of Worldwide Vintage Autos in Denver, Colorado. Some of their previously sold inventory can come up in searches elsewhere, and that includes a lot of Eagles. That might lead you to believe, as I did, that they’re an AMC Eagle emporium. If only such a place existed!
It turns out that Worldwide Vintage Autos isn’t the land of oddball AMCs I’d dreamed it to be. I called to learn that they only have two Eagles in stock at the moment and they only sell a couple a year. Further, they don’t seem to be particularly hot sellers. They tend to sit on the showroom floor for a couple of months before being picked up.
The Eagle now, as it did when it was new, is overshadowed by bigger, burlier, truck-based SUVs that grab all the attention. Collectors prefer the International Scout, Ford Bronco, Chevy Blazer, and of course Jeep’s own Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer. Even Worldwide’s inventory can attest to that. Still, someone out there has to also appreciate a groundbreaking car that’s two-thirds as cool for half the price. It’s definitely not setting the collector car market on fire, but a worthy collectible nonetheless. You may want to snap them up while you still can.